The Atlanta Tipoff Club has announced Duke men’s basketball signees Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin among the 25 players named to the 2021 Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Boys Midseason Team.
Players on the midseason team are in contention for the Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Trophy for Boys Player of the Year, which will be announced on March 10, 2021. The Naismith High School Boy’s All-America Teams will be released March 8.
Duke is one of three programs nationally with multiple signees named to the midseason team, joining Michigan and Michigan State.
Banchero, a 6-9 power forward from O’Dea High School in Seattle, Wash., is currently ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect in the class of 2021 by ESPN. He was named the Washington Boys Basketball Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior in 2019-20, when he averaged 22.6 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.6 blocks per game for O’Dea. Banchero became the sixth Duke signee in the past decade to earn MaxPreps Junior Player of the Year honors (Austin Rivers – 2010; Jabari Parker – 2012; Jayson Tatum – 2015; Zion Williamson – 2017; Vernon Carey Jr. – 2018).
Griffin, a 6-7 small forward from Archbishop Stepinac in White Plains, N.Y., is currently the No. 14 overall prospect in ESPN 100’s rankings. The top-rated player in the state of New York, he averaged 17.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game in 12 appearances as a junior last season. Griffin was a member of the Team USA squad that won gold at the 2019 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
Three former Blue Devils have been named the Naismith High School Boys Player of the Year – Shane Battier (1997), Austin Rivers (2011) and RJ Barrett (2018) – tying Duke with Georgia Tech and UCLA as the programs with the most alumni to earn the honor.